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Commentary :: Civil & Human Rights

AFFIRMATIVE ACTION

A major case before the United States Supreme Court concerns the issue of Affirmative Action. The court's ruling will govern how or whether universities may consider an applicant's race and is likely to affect how the government treats race in other areas. The purpose of affirmative action in the United States was to create government programs to overcome the effects of past societal discrimination by allocating jobs and resources to members of specific groups, such as minorities and women. There is no question that past societal discrimination occured in the United States and perhaps the only appropriate remedy at the time was affirmative action. However, I believe this policy has outlived its purpose. Anywhere you look in the United States, minorities are well represented. Besides, there is a limit to punishing people for the sins of their forefathers. It is unfair to award preference based on race when all other qualifications are equal. This not only undermines the means to determining the best candidates but also serves to de-legitimize the accomplishments of someone who was given preference based on race. Those opposed to affirmative action look to section one of the fourteenth amendment of the Constitution of the United States:
Amendment XIV
Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws
I believe the minorties of this country have been given enough time to allow for the "cream to rise to the top" and now must take their equal position along side of the majority. The time is long overdue to stop rewarding underachieving individuals because of their race and start rewarding overachieving individuals because of their accomplishments. To do otherwise, would mean denying the very principles set forth in the fourteenth amendment.
 
 


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